Beautiful day here in Chicago. A surprising number of Yankees fans were dodging raindrops on Michigan Avenue yesterday. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us.
Melky Cabrera: What is it about Melky that he seems to come up with a big hit just when the Yankees need one? Like his three-run homer off Buehrle in the second inning.
Jerry Hairston Jr.: Girardi loves his versatility. Girardi also loves Ransom. It’s hard to see the need for both.
Ozzie Guillen: We didn’t have to bleep him at all for pregame today. That might be a first. He is fun. He also promised a quick game today. Um, maybe not.
Jake Peavy: If his new team’s preferred timetable is correct, he’ll face the Red Sox and Yankees on a road trip that begins Aug. 24. Ozzie hopes Peavy, who threw in the bullpen today, could make his debut even before then.
Al Leiter and the Rev. Jesse Jackson: What do these gentlemen have in common? Both paid dinner tabs last night in one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants. Leiter left a 20 percent tip, picking up the sizable tab for a table of four. Thanks, Al. (Full disclosure: Kay picked up the bar tab and also left a 20 percent tip. Thanks, Michael.) Restaurant sources indicated the Rev. Jackson went the 8 percent route, leaving $31 on a tab of just over $28 dollars.
CC Sabathia and Mark Buerhle: Halfway through and there are 20 hits and 11 runs on the board. And Tony Pena, not the bench coach, has relieved Buerhle. That’s baseball, as they say.
Here’s the danger of a Saturday day game on a glorious afternoon: Our announcers — Kay, Leiter and O’Neill — sit and chat between innings about their evening plans and dinner reservations. (Just to clarify, O’Neill isn’t going to Chili’s tonight. In case you wondered.) And then the game flirts with four hours and everyone’s mood is deflated.
Talk about a jinx.
Polly Tompkins: We have a feature on Polly — the Yankees honorary bat girl in May as part of MLB’s campaign to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer — that will air during tomorrow’s pregame. It’s a good one. Swisher already asked for a copy on DVD.
Andy Pettitte: Where were you on June 7, 1995? Andy got his first career win that day, against the A’s. So far, he looks like he’s turning back the clock today. Especially with a couple of nifty defensive plays of his own.
Michael Kay: He just said something else about a fast game. Leiter yelled at him.
The Yankees HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) comes to an end tonight, and it’s been quite a week. Last night in particular, after the nearly three-hour rain delay, many players stayed into the wee hours with the kids and young adults from Camp Sundown. And they had a blast, with several saying they stayed much later than they’d intended because they were having so much fun.
One blessing of the long rain delay: the Camp Sundown folks were scheduled to arrive in the second or third inning. Because of the delay, they were able to see the entire game.
Aceves and AJ made music, playing acoustic guitar and singing and, sources say, Cashman joined in the vocals. The on-field carnival was a tremendous success. As the entire week has been.
Mark Teixeira: He’s tied for the AL lead in home runs after launching a(nother) rocket to the second deck in right field last night, on a 3-0 pitch. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that pitchers had gone 3-0 on Teixeira in 16 previous plate appearances this season. He’d walked each time, five intentionally. In other words, no other pitcher dared as Vin Mazzaro did, serving up a pitch over the middle of the plate.
Chien-Ming Wang: He might pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday as he continues to seek the best course of treatment for his right shoulder strain. Wang calls the past year “very frustrating” and fears he won’t pitch again this season. Girardi says the Yankees have to proceed as if Wang won’t be back this season.
Paul O’Neill: He’s joining Kay and Leiter for the balance of the A’s series. He is lucky to have missed last night’s game; O’Neill and two-hour, 43-minute rain delays don’t mix. “That wouldn’t have been real good,” O’Neill said. During the break every half inning, Kay and Leiter sit and sometimes talk, laugh or make fun of each other. O’Neill walks around. He just came back with a hot tea and cookie from the dining room.
It’s a good thing Bruney returns Tuesday from the DL. He’s been so bored, he decided to pick on Francisco Rodriguez.
And it’s a good thing the Yankees have a day off tomorrow. When these days off at home roll around, you always get the feeling that every single player and coach is in need of a little break.
Not to mention the rest of us.
Johan Santana: Who wants to bet the Yankees will have more success against him today than they did against Nieve yesterday? (Full disclosure: Cano is currently on third with one out in the second inning.)
Mariano Rivera: A reader, or two, has asked about Mariano in non-save situations. When we asked him for Friday’s postgame about the difference in those spots, he said he honestly doesn’t know but wishes he did. And he kind of smiled and shook his head as he said it. Like he’s as befuddled as anyone about the disparity in his results. Mariano has coverted 13 consecutive regular-season save opportunities against the Mets.
Al Leiter: Doesn’t bring Mike & Ikes to the booth anymore. Which is sad.
Chien Ming-Wang: Pete Abraham, who is an expert on Wang, says the birth of a child is said to bring good luck in Chinese culture. No doubt, Wang needs good luck — and a good outing Wednesday. Cashman said today that Wang has to attack hitters, trust his stuff and get back to pitching to contact, which means trusting his defense too. And if he doesn’t have success against the Nationals? Cashman said he, Eiland and Girardi will have another meeting. And this time, they probably won’t decide to give him another start — not with the way Hughes has been pitching.
Francisco Cervelli: A bloop single gets the Yankees on the board against Santana. It’s no surprise Cervelli is catching A.J., who just doesn’t pitch well with Posada behind the plate. (7.48 ERA in four starts with Posada. 3.81 in eight starts with Molina or Cash.)
Derek Jeter: An RBI single by the Captain, 2-0 Yankees. Funny how Nieve looked like a Cy Young Award winner yesterday and Santana is having to battle today. Damon with a two-run single, 4-0 Yankees. Santana doesn’t look like Santana, does he?
Michael Kay: He tries to fool all of us with a plate of watermelon in front of him. “Oh, you’re eating healthy?” Cone asked. “Now I am,” Kay replied. “I had pancakes and bacon earlier.” And he just reached into his bag for an Atkins bar.
Audrey the Stage Manager reports that she had ice cream for breakfast. Yes, we are all obsessed with food.
Kay just complained that the blog is an “invasion of my privacy.” He’s lying. He loves the attention. And he’s drinking Diet Pepsi for the first time in a month and he’s all fired up. (“Blog that!” he says. We will!) Maybe he’s trying to compete with Leiter and his Red Bull.
By the way, Kay had the pancakes dry, no syrup. “Never syrup!” he yelled during a commercial break. “That would bastardize the pancakes.” Really, he’s an interesting guy, isn’t he?
In response to one of your comments, we talked to Aceves and Girardi about the reliever’s role. Girardi says, yes, he would be interested in using Aceves — and Coke when he’s healthy again — for two-inning appearances. If those two continue to pitch well, it would be an obvious help in building the bridge to Mariano.
Aceves, however, told us he couldn’t do that every time out. Two consecutive games of two innings of work would likely be his limit. Then, he said, he’d need at least a day off. Even today, Aceves said, his shoulder is a bit sore – just normal soreness – after pitching two scoreless innings last night.
So it’s something that’s possible at times, just not every time. Good question.
It’s getaway day, which means everyone is hoping beyond hope for a quick game. It’s also “Ladies Night Out” here at Rogers Centre. Yee-hah!
As we write this, Leiter is rolling his chair over his jacket. Repeatedly. Now he realizes it and is staring down at the blue jacket, which is rather dusty. Especially one of the sleeves. The inning just ended, and Leiter is worrying about having to wear the jacket on postgame and looking dirty. This is the stuff from the booth you don’t see.
Last night’s game went three hours, nine minutes. None of the Blue Jays previous five games lasted longer than 2:34. For whatever that’s worth.
Leiter just asked if we’re writing about him. Yes. We’re also wondering what happened to the Mike and Ike’s.
Swisher’s haircut is creating waves in the clubhouse. It looks a bit like someone took lawnmower blades to his head. Actually, he went to A.J.’s stylist in Toronto – which is another story unto itself. Anyway, in the near future, we will have a Swisher InnerView on “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” and you’ll get an up-close-and-personal look at his hair. We’ll try to give you a heads up. That should be entertaining.
So Jeter’s back, as is Matsui. Bruney should return within a week. Coke could be available tomorrow. Nady plans to swing a bat in the cage tomorrow. Girardi says it’s too early to forecast a return date for either Posada or Molina; Posada is in Tampa, but not yet playing games, and Molina remains in New York.
That’s today’s injury update, brought to you by Benadryl. Or whatever allergy medication we’re taking today.
Leiter just said he didn’t buy more Mike and Ike’s. He also said he read the blog – really, he read it! – and was amused that Mike and Ike’s are so popular. Keep reading, Al. And bring those Mike and Ike’s next time. 🙂
Tomorrow will be Alex’s first game at Yankee Stadium. Something tells us he’ll be very happy to see the home fans after some of the treatment he’s received here and in Baltimore. Sources say the Toronto fans – particularly on Tuesday — have been as unruly as any the Yankees have seen in a while. They were throwing coins into the Yankees bullpen and yelling all kinds of vulgarities. And we thought Canadians were a gentle sort.